When it comes to travel experts, let’s face it, King Charles probably isn’t the first person who comes to mind. Still, though, you have to admit that as a royal who’s been travelling regularly since birth, traipsing all around the planet, Charles should have a pretty good idea about destinations worth the effort.
One such spot is the region of Transylvania in Romania. In fact, after visiting Romania regularly since the late 1990s, in 2008, King Charles, then just a Prince, purchased a property there. It’s guesthouse in Zalán Valley near the Carpathian Mountains, which sets visitors back roughly AUD $295 (USD $200) a night, all meals included. And by visitors, we mean anyone. You don’t have to be a royal to spend the night at Charles’ guesthouse.
“He vacations here for a week nearly every May, bringing along friends and retinue of security,” reports The New York Times. “It’s a quiet corner of the world where time seems to have stopped about a couple centuries ago, and the King has often described it as one of his favourites.”
The residence even has a Prince’s Room where you can sleep in the same bed the royal does on his yearly trips, reports the publication. In the room, you’ll find a photo of King Charles’ mum Queen Elizabeth II as a young woman.
The King has long spoken about his love for Romania, once describing it as having a sense of age-old continuity. According to Charles, he’s related to Vlad the Impaler, the one-time ruler of region Wallachia and the inspiration for ‘’Dracula’. In 2020, Charles even appeared in a video promoting tourism to Romania.
“I have come to know and love so much about Romania – her unique historic heritage and unrivalled biodiversity, her vast mixed forests and breathtaking natural landscapes,” he said in the clip. “As much as I have seen there is so much more that I long to explore.”
Australian freelance travel writer Amanda Woods said Romania’s capital city Bucharest, four hours’ drive from Transylvania, is one of Europe’s most underrated spots.
“Nothing can quite prepare you for a tour of the Palace of the Parliament, where dictator Nicolae Ceausescu had more than one million cubic metres of Transylvanian marble, 3,500 tonnes of crystal for chandeliers, 100kg of gold, and 220,000 square metres of carpets used to build the second largest administrative building in the world after the Pentagon,” she told The Latch.
As well as visiting the marks left behind by a crazy dictator, she shares that you can explore the streets of a city that’s reinventing itself with new boutiques, cafés, restaurants and bars. If you do make it to Transylvania to stay in the King’s home, be sure to see Bran Castle, the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula, as well as dip your toes in the Black Sea.